Letterhead that reads Pennsylvania Training School for Feebleminded Children

Finding Friendship and Frustration in the Archive of an Institution for the “Feebleminded”

The methodology proposed by “Archival Kismet” is to go where the archive leads you (while bearing in mind, of course, all the people, structures, and historically contingent happenings that have produced “the archive” in its current form). Sometimes you follow archival sources down a dead-end rabbit hole, or along a new and exciting path of… Read more →

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Black and white photo of large brick building with mock Tudor features.

Surrender, Discovery, and Recovery: The Many Meanings of Adoption

To write about mid-twentieth century adoption practices in the United States is to position oneself at the heart of dozens of competing narratives. As explored in other texts such as Ann Fessler’s The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades before Roe v. Wade, to… Read more →

A photograph of a nun in a habit standing in the middle of four women in white nurses uniforms. The nurses hold bouquets of flowers.

An Emancipatory Vocation: Nursing in Quebec, 1912–1974

Established in 1967, the first Royal Commission on the Status of Women, also known as “the Bird Commission,” emerged following pressure from women’s groups calling for an inquiry into the status of women in Canada. The commission and its 1970 Report of the Royal Commission on the Status of Women in Canada was a major step for… Read more →

Ending the War on Science: A Review of Maya Goldenberg’s Vaccine Hesitancy

With three highly efficacious vaccines widely available for COVID-19 in the United States (which were developed in record time, breaking the record set by a mumps vaccine in the 1960s), we are beginning to see the light at the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. But the effort to reach herd immunity and reduce the COVID-19… Read more →